BimmerWorld Racing Finishes 2004 SPEED Touring Car Season at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca MONTEREY, Calif. (Oct. 17, 2004) -- BimmerWorld Racing drivers James Clay, of Blacksburg, Va., rookie Seth Thomas, of Cumming, Ga., and Matt Richmond, of ...
BimmerWorld Racing Finishes 2004 SPEED Touring Car Season at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca
MONTEREY, Calif. (Oct. 17, 2004) -- BimmerWorld Racing drivers James Clay, of Blacksburg, Va., rookie Seth Thomas, of Cumming, Ga., and Matt Richmond, of Mooresville, N.C., finished the SCCA SPEED World Challenge Touring Car season today at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, as part of the Audi Sports Car Championships.
Coming off a solid third, fourth and fifth place finish at Road Atlanta three weeks ago, Clay, Thomas and Richmond had a tougher time taming the 2.238-mile, 11-turn circuit at Laguna Seca this weekend.
Clay, who started ninth on the grid, got a great launch in his No. 36 BimmerWorld/Ground Control/Wheel Chair Foundation BMW 325i from the standing start. Following a three-lap caution to retrieve the cars of Mike Davis and Andrew Monterrubio from turn two, Clay found himself in fifth by lap four. But, unfortunately two untimely on track mistakes dropped him to 10th two laps later.
"I had a great start with the weather here and the track conditions," Clay said of his final start of 2004. "I was hoping to stay clean through the first turn and really through the first lap and still be towards the front. I kind of settled in [after the caution came out]. But, I can attribute the loss of positions to two mistakes. I knew where they were each time. The first time there were three cars [involved] and the second time it was one car. It was unfortunate, but you can't make a mistake around these guys."
Clay eventually brought his BMW home in ninth place, giving him three top-10 finishes in 2004 en route to a 16th place finish (82 points) in the Drivers' Championship.
Driving the No. 38 BimmerWorld/Ground Control/Wheel Chair Foundation BMW 325i, Thomas also got a good start from his 18th starting spot, passing several cars heading into turn one, but quickly found himself in a precarious position by turn two.
"At the start of the race, I got a pretty good jump on people, but I got stuck on the outside of turn two, which isn't exactly where you want to be," Thomas said of his start. "That is not the best situation to be in with the wet track, so a few cars got around me there."
Thomas was determined to move up through the field despite never really getting a good restart following both full course cautions.
"On every restart, I was far enough back coming out of turn 11 that when the green flag flew I had a tough time getting traction," Thomas added. "That is a tough turn to get traction on and get a good jump on the restart. I never got the jump that I wanted. Throughout the race I moved up a few spots. It was a good race. It was a lot of fun."
Thomas' 15th place finish at Laguna Seca helped him finish third in the chase for SPEED Touring Car Rookie of the Year honors and 15th in the Drivers' Championship (88 points), despite not finishing the race at Infineon and missing the race at Portland International Raceway.
"There were a few disappointments this season, but that's racing," Thomas said of his rookie year. "BimmerWorld Racing had a pretty tough year. I missed a couple of races and if I would've stayed a little more consistent, I would've done well or at least a little bit better in the points. But, overall I finished third [for the Rookie of the Year award] and that's still good, especially with the crop of rookies that came up this year. It was a tough field."
Richmond, who qualified his No. 37 BimmerWorld/Ground Control/Wheel Chair Foundation BMW 325i 14th, spent most of the race battling for position and appeared to be on the move when another car made contact with Richmond in turn two, forcing both cars off the track with Richmond losing several positions.
"I was hoping to get a top 10 [finish] today," Richmond said of his race. "That would have been the icing on the cake for the season. The car was running great, but a bad move by another driver took me out. But, the car was good and everybody had a good time. We're ready to celebrate the end of a fun season."
Although Richmond finished 19th at Laguna Seca, he finished the season strong with one top-five and three top-10 finishes in the last four races. Richmond finished 11th in the Drivers' Championship, scoring 109 points.
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